We're Working On ItMy husband and I have been together for 4 years. We don't have much of a sex life. I was sexually and emotionally abused as a child, and am going through therapy and taking antidepressant medication, and sex is extremely painful physically. Aside from that we have a wonderful relationship and love each other. We are very affectionate, so it's not like we lack intimacy. We snuggle and hold hands and kiss and flirt with each other. I feel awful that I can't get it together and have sex, like I am screwed up and it's depriving him of something essential. I've invited him to take a lover to make up for my inadequacies but he didn't want to. Mentally, I desperately want to have sex with him, but emotionally and physically, it is really difficult.
When we first got together we were having a fair bit of sex. Partly because of those new "love chemicals" raging around. Also, because I would get drunk or take drugs to be able to have sex. When he realized that I couldn't have sex without being out of it, he felt bad, and I think it was probably pretty unsexy. He doesn't drink or do drugs at all, and his straight-edge nature has worn off on me over time. Now that I don't do that stuff either, I don't have any way to dull the physical pain of sex or get my head out of that dark place.
Another dynamic at work is that once I am in a relationship with someone, I feel like I am expected to have sex with them, and that makes it feel like I have no choice, which triggers avoidance. After being controlled my entire life, I instincively rebel against anything that I "have" to do.
I feel like I could have drunken sex with a complete stranger (note: I don't do that), but it's so hard to have sex with someone I love. Sex feels like a predatory act that is completely separated from love. Like using another human being as an ob
But like I said, we're working on it. And I say "we", because even though it's my issue, he's part of it now that we're together. Recovering from abuse and regaining trust is a long, painful process. It takes a long time and it's a team effort. I'm open and honest with my husband. I have told him what my triggers are and tell him when he trips one. He knows not to do certain things, like hug me when I'm naked and he's clothed. He read a book called "Allies in Healing" for partners of people who have been sexually abused, and he's being supportive and patient. He came with me to one of my therapy sessions so we could both express things and understand one another better. I'm doing lots of therapy to try to re-integrate sex and love. I've changed around my medication to something that isn't such a libido-killer. It takes a long time, and often I despair that it'll never get better, but I just need to keep doing the work to heal and keep hope alive.
Good luck to the other survivors out there. You are not alone.